Thursday, December 05, 2013

DIY Stocking Stuffers Under $5 {Sister Inspirations}

We’re excited to share with you ten diy stocking stuffer ideas this month, all under $5 each. On this blog you will find five ideas for her and on Megan’s blog she is sharing five gifts for the guys.

diy stocking stuffers under $5 for her

Disclosure: Please know that if you make a purchase using a link on this page, I may earn a small commission and I am very grateful for your support of this site. Thank you!

Hand Decorated Mugs or Bowls

I was intending to make personalized mugs for this first project, but the shape of this bowl really struck me. You can use this technique on any porcelain piece. There’s a lot of projects on Pinterest that are decorated with sharpie, but I do advise you to get the porcelain paint pens instead. I’ve heard that the sharpie is not dishwasher-proof and will eventually rub off. The porcelain paint pens are only a few dollars and should last for a few projects.

All you need to do is draw your design on bowl or mug and then bake it in your 350 degree oven for 30 minutes to set the design. If you mess up, you can use a damp cloth to wipe your mistakes away before you bake it. I have more detailed instructions about the process here.

diy stocking stuffer idea #1- personlized bowl

Bath Salts

Bath salts are surprisingly simple to make. The base is Epsom salts which you can find in big bags for just a few dollars. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil and a little food coloring (totally optional if you want to go natural), and you’re done.

diy stocking stuffer idea #2- homemade bath salts

Sugar Scrub

I’ve written about my love for sugar scrub before. It’s easy, it’s cheap, and feels so luxurious. This time I used this super simple recipe. I still also recommend my pumpkin and spice sugar scrub too.

diy stocking stuffer idea #3- homemade sugar scrub

Christmas Simmer Scent

There’s something about scent that makes a house into a home. For this stocking stuffer, I packaged up all the ingredients for a yummy smelling simmering scent. I dried some orange and lemon slices, then added cinnamon and cloves to the mix. To use, all they need to do is pour in a small pot, add water, and bring to a simmer.

For instructions on how to dry orange slices, click here. To read more about creating your own simmering scent, click here.

diy stocking stuffer idea #4- christmas simmer scent

Homemade Extracts

I’ve been intrigued by diy extracts for a while and thought this was a perfect time to try my hand at it. You can make all kinds of extracts easily. You soak your choice of flavoring agent in a base of vodka and a few weeks later, you have extract. I made almond extract because that’s what I had on hand, and I really like it’s flavor in cookies.

You can make vanilla, mint, lemon, etc. See here for more detailed instructions.

diy stocking stuffer idea #5- homemade almond extract

Be sure to check out Megan’s stocking stuffer ideas for the gentlemen in your life.

click here for stocking stuffer ideas for him

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Chipotle Bacon Cheddar Cheese Ball

I’m a huge fan of cheese balls.  They are not fussy or complicated. You can whip one up in a handful of minutes. They are an appetizer that can be made ahead of time. And they are always crowd pleasers. Always.

This cheese ball is no different. I’m super excited to bring it to my family’s Thanksgiving dinner because I know they will love it. It’s actually difficult leaving it alone in the refrigerator—self control, Amy.

I shared two other cheese ball recipes a couple years ago and they are great basic recipes, but I decided to kick it up a notch with chipotles. If you are not familiar with chipotles, they can be found in a small can in the Latin foods aisle. Chipotles are smoked jalapeno peppers, often packed in adobo sauce. Yum.

Chipotle Bacon Cheese Ball -- perfect appetizer for the holidays


  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/8 cup onion, minced finely or grated
  • 2-3 chipotle peppers, chopped*
  • 1 tsp. parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
Mix all ingredients together, except bacon. Form the mixture into a ball with your hands and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour. To serve, unwrap from the plastic and roll the ball in the bacon pieces.

Makes one 6” ball.

*Chipotle peppers add a delicious smoky flavor, but have a bit of kick. I use three peppers, but I advise you to start with two and then taste the mixture to determine if you want to add more. If you’re adventurous, you can add more than three too!

chipotle bacon cheddar cheese ball -- perfect appetizer for the holidays

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

8 Thanksgiving Traditions {Sister Inspirations}

With the start of the holiday season, we were obviously inspired by Thanksgiving. Instead of writing about the food or holiday decorations, we wanted to focus on the spirit of thankfulness. So here are eight traditions that you can start with your family this year.

Thanksgiving Crescent Rolls

This is not an original idea to us, but we thought it was a great idea and wanted to test it out to see if it really worked. And it did.

Cut small slips of paper for each family member to write what they are thankful for during the past year. Gently roll each paper into a crescent roll and bake like normal. At dinner each person can share out the message they found in the roll. You can even make a guessing game out of the activity.

A couple of tips:

  • Roll them up gently. If you smoosh them too much, the paper will stick to the dough and you will have be eating paper with your rolls.
  • Fold the slips in half. We didn't do this to all our rolls and there was a small bit of ink transfer on the ones we didn't fold. Though a little ink didn't kill anyone that I know of. . .

Thanksgiving Chalkboard

If you have a chalkboard wall or canvas, your family can write their thanksgivings to display in your home.

Thanksgiving Stones

This is an activity that can be a way for your family to express their gratitude throughout the year. Thanksgiving is a great time to start.

You will need stones, a vase or other container, and a notebook. I found polished river stones at our local dollar store that worked perfectly for this project. When you have something you are thankful for, you place a stone in the vase and write your thanksgiving in the notebook. In time you will see how your family blessings stack up.

Thankful Tree

I've always liked the idea of thankful trees. In fact a couple of years ago, I posted one of my own. This year I thought it would be great to incorporate it as a centerpiece for the family meal.  I chose one of my favorite vases and brought in a couple small branches of the beautiful fall foliage.  I then wrote the things I am thankful for on a few leaves with a fine sharpie. If you keep water in the vase, the branches should keep for at least a week.

The other four traditions can be found on Megan's blog. Click here for the rest of the list.

Linking to Tutorials & Tips at Home Stories A to Z.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Sad Day

I have some bad news, friends.  You might have noticed my absence from the blog the past few days. Unfortunately, my computer died. We have tried to resuscitate it, but to no avail. I will be trying to post somewhat regularly through a few foster computers while we are deciding how to replace the dud, but I cannot keep up with the daily October series.

I'm really disappointed that I will be unable to share with you everyday, but this "stuff" happens. I will do my best to get back to regular programming as soon as possible.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sister Inspirations: 5 Non-Traditional Painted Pumpkins

Welcome to the second installment of Sister Inspirations. This month we felt compelled to take a nod from the season and decorate pumpkins. We realize that there aren't many new ideas that haven't been done before, so we put our own flair on a few "non-traditional" pumpkin designs.

We went with painted pumpkins because they last longer and they are not Halloween specific, so you can use them through Thanksgiving. Also, they tend to be more kid-friendly than wielding sharp tools to carve a pumpkin.

Gold Studded Pumpkin

I saw a studded pumpkin by Sweet Paul, loved the idea, and wanted to put my own spin on it.

I thought painting it white would be a great contrast to the gold studs. The studs are actually beads I found at Michaels.

After the paint was dry, I simply hot glued the studs in a star pattern. Perhaps the most difficult part of this pumpkin was planning out the design of the studs. I recommend laying them out before starting so you know where you're going.

I love it. So fierce! :)

Irregular Chevron Pumpkin

For this pumpkin I was inspired by this wall design. I liked how it took a classic chevron pattern and switched it up just a bit with the irregular angles. For high contrast, I painted the pumpkin slate gray and used white puff paint for the stripes.

My sister, Megan, is sharing the other three pumpkins on her blog, A Little Nutmeg. She is featuring a glittered polka dot pumpkin, a crosshatched patterned pumpkin, and an ombre pumpkin.

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